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Colloquially called “The Mount”, Mount Maunganui (shortened to Mt. Maunganui) is a seaside town next to Tauranga, in the Bay of Plenty. The town is built on a large sand bar, connected to the mainland by the volcanic cone it’s named after – though the mountain is now officially known by its Maori name, Mauao.
If you like living next to the beach and enjoy warm weather, you’ll love Mt. Maunganui and the friendly, relaxed locals. The small population swells over the summer holidays as people from all over the country and around the world flock to The Mount for its beautiful beaches, perfect surf and popular festivals to welcome in the New Year.
The Mount Maunganui Language Centre is right in the middle of the popular dining area of the town – perfect for coffee, lunch or dinner with classmates. Spend your weekends relaxing on the beach, taking part in a number of water-based activities available, shopping at the markets or mall or taking leisurely walks up and around Mauao. What a perfect way to enjoy New Zealand while learning English!
Because Mt. Maunganui sits on a sand bar, residents and visitors are lucky to have an ocean beach with great surf, as well as a harbour beach, called Pilot Bay, which is great for kayaking, sailing and watching big ships entering the harbour. New Zealand’s first artificial reef was built offshore from the ocean beach and produces perfect waves that surfers adore.
Mauao is open to the public all year round, with a number of tracks to walk and explore. From the summit you’ll have magnificent views over the town, harbour and beaches. The mountain is specially regarded as tapu (sacred) by local Maori, and features extensively in the area’s mythology.
Both beaches host a range of water activities, perfect for any sea-going enthusiast. Surf perfect waves or swim, take a tour, or join an activity group for kayaking, sailing, fishing and more. Another popular activity is “blokarting” – a beach kart that uses a sail to propel itself.
Right at the bottom of Mauao, the Mount Hot Pools are the perfect place to relax and soak while enjoying views of the beautiful mountain. For those who prefer retail therapy, you’ll always find something new at the Bayfair Shopping Centre, especially if you love shopping. Outside of Auckland and Wellington, the Bayfair Shopping Centre is one of the largest mall complexes in the North Island, home to many great retail and grocery stores. Take advantage of the weekly markets held every Sunday in the Phoenix car park. There’s plenty available –fresh fruit, vegetables, bread and seafood adorn tables, as well as boutique stores and crafts.
If you wish to explore further, Tauranga is just a 10 minute bus ride away!
Mt Maunganui is home to a variety of wonderful cafes, restaurants and shops with plenty to keep you occupied, inside and out.
Have you visited The Mount or are you currently studying here? We’d love to hear about your favourite things to see and do!